China

China

There are some records that you wouldn’t even think existed were it not for great marketing from those that are trying to set it.

One of those records is the recent one set by MINI earlier this month; you remember that as the parallel parking record they attempted to promote the special edition Chinese Job MINI Cooper . Well, despite their penchant for quirkiness, attempting to set the record was no small feat - even with a professional driver like Han Yue behind the wheel.

In this video, MINI takes us on a behind-the-scenes look on the preparations and hours of practice that went behind the attempts. In the end, Yue managed to squeeze in his MINI with only 5.9" of real estate separating the MINI from hitting the cars.

Check out the video and see how everything went down; it’s certainly worth your time to see how somebody is capable of doing something as cool as that when a lot of us can’t even grasp the concept of parallel parking.

Source: MINI
Ferrari 458 Italia China Special Edition

On the US market, a 458 Italia is priced at $220,000 - a reasonable price considering it’s a 570 HP Ferrari model. Now the question is: would you pay $870,000 for a special edition 458 Italia?

The car is question is the 458 Italia China Edition , which only received an extra golden dragon on the front bonnet, the title of being a "special edition," and a limited run of 20 units. Ferrari then had the gall to price it at 5.588 million yuan, or 700,000 euro, or $870,000. That adds up to a roughly $650,000 addition to the final price. With such a high markup, that dragon better be real, flame shooting and all.

Now here’s the real question. Is Ferrari trying to make its customers pay for their "little" mistake of using a 458 Italia China for a stunt on the Zhonghua Gate Tower in Nanjing that resulted in an insult to the Chinese culture? We hope not, because up-charging them on a car with little to no modifications may just add insult to injury.

Source: Jalopnik

IndyCar was all set to make its Chinese debut on August 19th, but the folks in Qingdao, China have better things to do, so its mayor cancelled the race. What is this better thing to do? Well, drink beer, of course. Yup, the August 19th race date directly overlapped the Qingdao International Beer Festival, which runs from August 11th – 26th and the mayor just didn’t see it fit to have something as small and unpopular as IndyCar interrupting its drinking festival, so he gave the IndyCar race Das Boot!

Now IndyCar must scramble around and attempt to find a replacement race and another China-based race is highly unlikely. There are rumors circulating that a second race at Texas Motor Speedway attached to the very end of the IndyCar 2012 season is going to be the likely replacement for the Beerfest-bumped race.

We are willing to bet that IndyCar is a little bit embarrassed to be bumped out of China, due to a 15-day-long beer festival. Who would have known that the folks in Qingdao took their drinking so seriously? Now the citizens of Qingdao can enjoy their two weeks of imported suds without interruption.

NASCAR may want to give the mayor of Qingdao a call, as they may be able to design an entire marketing campaign around the two…

It seems as though the Chinese market is getting a lot of special attention lately, probably due to the fact that they are on their way to becoming one of the biggest automotive markets in the world. Ferrari already built them a special 458 Italia and now Lamborghini has just unveiled the new Gallardo LP560-4 Gold Edition - offered exclusively for the Chinese market. The model will be limited to only 10 units and will be priced at 3 million Yuan - or the equivalent of $600,000. That’s $200K more than a standard Gallardo.

The new Gallardo LP560-4 Gold Edition will be distinguished by a special gold metallic paint combined with a new set of special alloys and a new engine cover. The interior gets red stitching on the steering wheel and seats.

Other than that, everything else on the Gallardo is the same. It will still be powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine that delivers a total of 552 HP at 8,000 rpm and a peak torque of 398 lb-ft available at 6,500 rpm. This is enough power to sprint the supercar up to a top speed of 201mph.

German automaker MINI is only one of many automakers that are looking to break into the Chinese market. Just like many of its contemporaries, MINI is going the route of presenting a special edition version of the Cooper exclusive to the Chinese market.

The limited run model is being called the China Olympic Special Edition, although the absence of any Olympic logos seem to suggest otherwise. Anyway, that’s what they wanted to call it so, you know, more power to them.

What the car does have is MINI’s now iconic British Racing Green paint finish that’s finely matched by a special five-stripe gold design that runs across the car’s bonnet and white roof, forming what we think is an oval running track. In addition, there are a number of "MINI China" logos on the sides, entrenching its claim as a true China-only vehicle.

Meanwhile, performance modifications were left out, which means that you can expect to see the same 1.6-liter petrol engine that produces 158 horsepower.

For a company that prides itself on having cars with insane amounts of horsepower, not to mention having a horse on their world famous logo, we couldn’t help but smell at the irony after watching this video.

The scene is Shanghai, China and what looks like just another regular day turned bizarre after a Ferrari 458 Italia was kicked in the side bumper by...wait for it...a horse.

Apparently, the 458 Italia and the Lamborghini Aventador behind it were taking a lovely cruise on a street near the Shanghai World Expo Center when it came across a local horse riding club. One of the horses that was near the 458 Italia inexplicably walked towards it, turned its back, and delivered a walloping kick to the Italian super car. Reason being? Nobody knows.

Fortunately, the damage was limited to some dents and scratches, which should keep the repair tab from skyrocketing through the roof. At the very least, the unfortunate owner of the 458 Italia will have a pretty interesting story to tell about his super car’s brush with an actual horse.

"How’d you get that ding on the 458 Italia?"

"It was kicked by a horse."

True story, indeed.

Source: You Tube
Saab 9-4X

The Saab saga continues…

Just a few weeks ago, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile – no, not that Lotus – was pushed out of the bidding ring for Saab due to what Autoweek called “Chinese bureaucracy” and the fact that there were some worries about the Chinese firm coming up with the scratch needed to finalize the deal.

This allowed a group of Chinese businesses, headed up by an alternative energy firm, to swoop in and take the lead on bidding. It looks as if Youngman isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel just yet, as according to Bloomberg the Chinese firm has just entered in a new bid of 4 billion kronor ($552 million) to purchase the bankrupted Swedish automaker.

The true test here is if this bid is even accepted. Youngman’s first bid was flat out rejected by GM. The second bid went belly up for similar reasons, we can only assume. So what makes Youngman think that this bid will receive a stamp of approval?

Even if Youngman succeeds in purchasing Saab’s remaining assets, what exactly does it plan on doing with the folded automaker? Most signs are pointing to Saab moving toward alternative energy sources to attempt to spearhead that market early on with a recognizable name. That’s all well and good, but the intellectual rights of the 9-3 and 9-5 are owned by BAIC , which leaves the company the rights to just the 9-4X SUV .

This lack of vehicles to base new ones off of means that whoever wins this relatively low-budget bidding war will essentially be building the company from scratch. Fortunately for the winner, the “Saab” name is well known and was once a fairly popular brand.

We will continue following the Saab bidding war and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 0
BMW X1

The Audi , Mercedes-Benz , and BMW rivalry has always existed, but has rarely ever been as fierce at it his right now. Not only are all three manufacturers competing in DTM racing for the first time in history, but the three are also jostling over the Chinese market in order to become the country’s largest manufacturer of luxury vehicles.

With Volkswagen confirming its plans to help increase the popularity of Audi in China, BMW has announced that it plans to triple output across its Chinese production facilities to 300,000 units annually in line with the opening of the new Tiexi production facility. This facility will soon start production of the
X1 in the coming weeks.

However, not everything coming out of this announcement is positive as there’s a risk BMW could be putting too much faith into the Chinese market and risk overdependence on its sales in order to boost profit levels.

A research analyst from Frost & Sullivan pointed out that, “There are no other regions that can provide for such massive numbers of sales as China can,” he said. “In the event of economic turmoil in China, most German automakers could end up with hundreds of thousands of unsold cars.”

Just like most economies operate, China faces its fair share of good and bad patches and right now the Chinese economy is booming which can only mean one thing. If the U.S. and the Eurozone are anything to go by, China’s growth may slump in the next few years and this would obviously hamper European firms entering the market.

Conversely however, Audi and Mercedes-Benz will also be in similar boats if it all goes bottoms up but for BMW’s sake we wish them all well with this expansion.

Source: Bloomberg

Recently deceased automotive master and all-around great person, Carroll Shelby , has a history that few can compete with. Not only was he one of the best American road racers, but was also a legendary car designer. But his legend is seemingly endless in the automotive field, as even racers in drift series races are influenced by him.

The most recent evidence was when American driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. took home 1st place in round 1 of the World Drift Series in China while driving his Mustang RTR. Though Mr. Shelby never had a hand in drifting, it is obvious that he had a huge influence on Gittin, as he dedicated this victory to the memory of Mr. Carroll Shelby.

After being declared the winner, Gittin was quoted saying “I would like to dedicate this to win to a very special man that we lost recently, someone I had the opportunity to meet just a few times, and someone that was a true inspiration to me personally and to the automotive world as a whole. That man is Carroll Shelby. He is someone that always did what he wanted to do no matter what anyone thought and I know he would be proud to know we are drifting Mustangs in Olympic stadiums here in China and bringing home a huge first place trophy back to the USA!”

Our congratulations have to go out to Gittin for his victory, but the victory pales in comparison to his heartfelt dedication to the man that helped make the Mustang that won the race what it is today. To say that Gittin has our support throughout the rest of the WDS is an understatement.

Somewhere, Mr. Shelby was smiling as this Ford Mustang slid its way around imports and into first place…

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

China is becoming a key market for a lot of automotive companies, including Ferrari and, as a thank you gift, the company has opened a new Myth exhibition at the Italian Center in Shanghai Expo Park. The inauguration ceremony was attended by the company’s Deputy Chairman Piero Ferrari, as well as representatives of both the Chinese and Italian governments.

The new exhibition center covers an area of 900 square meters and will be open to the public for three years. Its aim is to introduce the Chinese to Ferrari and allow them to experience the history, cars, technologies, and passion of the Prancing Horse first-hand, thereby further consolidating the already strong links between the Italian marque and this nation.

The models displayed are the 348 TS as the first Ferrari to enter the Chinese mainland market, a 275 GTB4 , a 365 GTB4 Daytona , the 750 Monza sports prototype, and the FF .

"For millions of people around the world, Ferrari represents the pinnacle of Italian culture," declared Piero Ferrari. "It is a symbol of passion, success and the constant pursuit of excellence. It has always been our wish to share Ferrari’s unique history and culture with the people of China who have shown great affection for the Prancing Horse and with whom we share core values such as respect for tradition and a tenacious spirit of innovation."


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